It seems clear by now that Ronaldo is the one pulling the strings when it comes to hunting down Nero. When begged to save her brother’s life, he tells Fio that if he swears allegiance to the Galassias, he’ll spare him. Not long after, he pays Frate a visit, and reminds him that killing Nero is the only way to save the Vannetti family. The nervous Frate we saw last episode has given way to a wreck. Hunched over his desk and a drink, he says nothing as Ronaldo slides him a tiny packet and leaves.
Fio organizes a meeting between the siblings, hoping to restore the family’s peace. While it enrages Frate, who believes that his older brother never acknowledged him like Ronaldo has, it pushes Nero toward calling a truce with Ronaldo. Avilio is sure that it’s too late for that – that with Frate, “it’s kill or be killed.”
Very quickly, whatever hope for peace there might have been begins to unravel. Avilio plots to kill Ronaldo, while Frate and Ronaldo plot to kill Nero. Fio is quickly drawn into the fold, realizing her family will be destroyed. What began as a turf war has instead become a family feud that takes the attention of the city media.
Of all the episodes with a surprise conclusion, this is the one that surprised me the most and left me with very little to say except “OH GOD. FEELINGS.” The Vannetti feud is so much more complex than the feud between families with saw before. It was clear in episode 6 that Frate knew he was in too deep, and during episode 7 we watch him slowly become destroyed by a combination of drugs and manipulation. With the family-focused mafia backdrop, it’s both a heartbreaking and realistic look of how fragile family ties really can be.
Frate, Ronaldo, and Fio are really the stars of this one, though Avilio is still pulling his own strings and of course the main subject is still Nero’s fate. This look at the more minor characters was a bleak, but fascinating break from following Avilio and co’s exploits. Even moreso because instead of being filler (something that often shows up in anime episodes not dedicated toward the primary characters), their stories are a well-done accompaniment.
Avilio again dips back into the anti-hero role here – there is little mention of his mission, but once again he shows that any life deemed inconsequential can be discarded if necessary. It’s strange when set next to Nero, who was supposed to be the original bad guy (at least in Avilio’s mind) and seems to experience far more awareness and guilt when his actions turn deadly.
I have to give props again for the art in 91 Days as well. Or, more specifically, the fantastic use of background to create atmosphere. The wide-open shot of a tiny body hanging from a huge bridge in the night. The dark, suffocating space of Frate’s office. The dimly lit rooms of Ronaldo and Fio’s home. The atmospheres of episode 7 were on point, even moreso than any of the rest of the series (which was still usually fantastic).
With the shocking conclusion to this episode, I feel like I’m left again saying “What will happen next?” So many loose ends have been tied up, and so many of the original roadblocks have been removed. Avilio seems more concerned with keeping Nero alive for the moment than with killing him, and it’s likely that the Vannetti family is about to undergo another big shift with their new loss. But honestly at this point, I’m not sure I’m too worried about it. I don’t really care where we’re going – I just know I trust 91 Days to take me there.